Ocular Genetics

The Wills Eye Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus service was founded in 1959 by Dr. Leonard Apt, the first double boarded pediatrician pediatric ophthalmologist followed by leadership by the famous Dr. Robison Harley and Joseph Calhoun. Since the founding of the Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus fellowship in 1969, numerous fellows have trained here from around the world.  The Ocular Genetics Fellowship was added, in view of this emerging area of ophthalmology, in 2010 and has trained the first ocular geneticist for several countries including Thailand, the Philippines,, Taiwan and Chile. The Director of the Fellowship Program is Dr. Alex V. Levin, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics at Wills. 

 

Overview

The Wills Eye Ocular Genetics Fellowship is a one year program. Generally, there are two positions open yearly. Candidates must provide their own funding. The fellowship period begins either in the first week of July and ends the last week of June the following year or starting January 1 and ending December 31 of the same year. International applicants may request alternate start dates based on visa delays. The Director of the Fellowship Program is Alex V. Levin, MD, MHSc, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics at Wills. This subspecialty fellowship will include active, full-time participation in all aspects of the Wills Eye Ocular Genetics Program. The Fellow will work closely with the genetic counselor and the Pediatric Ophthalmology Fellow and will have some shared responsibilities. We are very busy and see an enormous range of pathology in both adults and children that includes inherited retinal degenerations, congenital ocular malformations, genetic syndromes, and metabolic diseases that affect the eye. The year will include rotations in other subspecialty services at Wills including the Diagnostic Testing Center and the Ocular Oncology Service under the leadership of Jerry A. Shields, MD and Carol L. Shields, MD. Over half of all retinoblastoma in the U.S. comes to Wills. The Fellow will also have regular sessions in clinical genetics with Dr. Schnur at the Cooper University Hospital and Dr. Adele Schneider at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. Laboratory experience is provided at Thomas Jefferson University where the fellow will have exposure to DNA extraction, karyotyping, microarray analysis, sequencing and other molecular techniques. The Fellow will have the opportunity to participate in the full range of didactic and other educational activities at Wills Eye Hospital including sub-specialty rounds, monthly ocular genetics journal club, weekly grand rounds, neuroradiology rounds and every other week ocular genetics didactic resident teaching. The Fellowship includes support to attend one external genetics conference. The Fellow is also expected to give supervision to medical students and residents who rotate through the Ocular Genetics service.

 

Research

Research is an important part of the ocular genetics fellowship and opportunities range from bench laboratory to clinical. The fellow is the primary coordinator of our Wills ocular genetics database. Prospective studies involving new diagnostic tools and therapies are always ongoing. Ocular Genetics Fellows are expected to write and submit at least two manuscripts, and present at least one research paper in the Wills Eye Annual Conference. Additionally, they are encouraged to submit their research papers to local/national/international ophthalmology/ocular genetics meetings. As part of the Ocular Genetics team, the Fellow’s responsibilities include administrative and other supportive duties.

 

Requirements

Candidates must have completed their general ophthalmology training or be senior house officers. Candidates ineligible for a license will be welcomed as observers with much clinical exposure and involvement, and receive full credit for the fellowship year. USLME is not required.

 

To Apply

If you are intereste​d in our Ocular Genetics Fellowship Program, please complete and return the following:
  • A maxmimum one page personal statement as to why you want to do this fellowship and what you plan to do with the training once finished. Preference is shown to applicants who have future plans as an ocular geneticist and a position in advance to do so. If you have such a position, please also send a letter confirming this from your future Chair/Employer.
  • Photocopy of your certificate of registration/medical license.
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Photograph of yourself (not required but very helpful)
  • If you have previously published (not required), a copy of the 1-2 publications of which you are most proud
  • Three letters of recommendation.
All documents should be sent electronically by October 30th. The recommendation letters must also be sent as hard copy on original letterhead with original signature. Only completed applications will be considered for interviews (offered by phone if not available to attend in person). Formal language testing not required. For more information, please contact: Karen Scannapieco Administrative Assistant to  Alex V. Levin, MD, MHSc, FRCSC Fellowship Director Chief, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics Wills Eye Hospital, Ste. 1210 840 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19107-5109 Professor, Department of Ophthalmology Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University Phone: 215-928-3914 Fax: 215-928-3983 Email: kscannapieco@willseye.org